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Paarl MTB Classic breaks new ground

Participants in the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic will go where no one has gone before as organisers continue to up the ante ahead of what they aim to make the area's premier mountain bike race.

Race director Darren Herbst said both the feature event over 60km and the more family friendly offering over 30km included elements that would satisfy any mountain biker.

"There are so many stand-out features on the routes, I almost don't know where to start," he said ahead of Saturday's event at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate.

"A few of the local riders may have ridden some of the trails, but they wouldn't have done it in the way the race is set out, so it will still be different.

"Those who are coming from slightly further afield, and who may not have ridden here regularly, will find that it's jam-packed with proper mountain biking features such as single-track, great views and varied terrain."

Herbst said the feature event, which has a tough climb just 4km after the start, was not for the faint-hearted.

"But it is a relatively small price to pay for gaining access to the beautiful view of the Boland below."

He said it was definitely the climb of the 60km as it went all the way to the top of the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve and he was confident that it would provide a great challenge for participants.

This year the organisers, ASG Events in partnership with the City of Drakenstein, have also gained access to new tracts of land that will offer riders in the 60km a chance to tackle virgin territory.

One of these is the property on which Blacksmith's Kitchen - one of Paarl's more popular restaurants - is situated.

"The nice thing about this area is the different kinds of terrain it provides," said Herbst.

"Where we pass through Blacksmith's there are a few single-track descents, contour roads that wind through vineyards and the cobbled section where you get to pass right by the restaurant."

He said this addition added even more variety to a course that already offered so much.

"The owners of the restaurant are big fans of mountain biking so it was a great fit really and we're very excited to work with them."

He said other new sections included the first 4km of the route, the single-track along the Spice Route and recently built trails at Rhebokskloof and in the reserve.

Herbst said the routes were always a work in progress.

"Our aim is to cement this as Paarl's premier mountain bike event and so we try to mix it up a bit. We try to find some great routes that we can not only use next year, but improve on."

Go to www.asgevents.co.za/paarlmtb/ for more info.



Participants in the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic will take on a unique and varied route from Rehbokskloof Wine Estate on Saturday. Photo: Capcha Photography

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